Tutorial: How to juggle a soccer ball
So you got a brand new shiny ball but nobody to play with yet? Do you know how to juggle a soccer ball?
Fret not as there are many things you can do with a soccer ball all by yourself. Juggling a soccer ball is an extremely popular exercise as it not only increases your skills as a player but also impresses spectators. Many professional soccer players practice juggling in their training sessions and in the pre-match warm ups. This short tutorial will show you how to juggle a soccer ball much like your favorite player.
Before we go into the details you must remember the three “P’s” which are:
Patience – Don’t be in a hurry to learn things and just go with the flow. Crisitano Ronaldo did not become the player he is today overnight and practiced for hours with a ball in his backyard to perfect his technique. So follow his example and let time work its magic.
Practice – I’m sure everybody knows the age old saying: Practice makes a man perfect. The best thing to do is follow these wise words and carry on. The best soccer players in the world practiced their juggling skills from childhood and still do it today which is why they haven’t lost touch. If you practice long enough you too will become perfect.
Perseverance – If and when you manage to successfully juggle a football don’t just stop there but keep on honing your skills. Try different juggling techniques and do things that are out of your comfort zone in order to become better and better.
Now that you memorized the three “P’s” let’s learn how to juggle a soccer ball:
Step 1: Keep the ball in front of you at chest level – Let go of the ball and let it bounce. As it’s coming down kick it with your preferred foot (Always make sure that it is slightly angled upwards) with enough power that it reaches chest level. Always kick the ball with the lace part of your boot and not with the tip of it.
Step 2: Make sure you bend your knees a bit – Bending your knees will give you better ball control so it’s a good idea to follow this process. Your other foot should be placed flat on the ground and always firm. Never lock your knees and always keep them a bit flexible for quicker reflexes. Balance is an integral part of ball juggling and in order to achieve good balance you must keep your eyes locked on the ball and bend your knees.
Step 3: Keep working until you can successfully catch the ball between your thigh and stomach – You should try and avoid leaning or going forward to catch the ball with your hands as these two things will throw you off balance. Always try and suspend the ball between your thigh and stomach so that you won’t have to break your stance before you start juggling again. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get it at first as it is a technique that will only come with practice. You can even try catching the ball with your foot and shin but it’s always better to know more than one technique.
Step 4: Keep increasing the number of bounces – Never be satisfied if you can manage just one or two juggles. Always look to increase the number of times the ball bounces off your foot as it will not only look impressive but also help your ball controlling skills. A good way to do this is to prevent the ball from touching the ground as many times as possible. It’s always better to slowly start increasing the speed of your juggles than be hasty and lose control.
After you perfect these steps try attempting things that are out of your comfort zone like juggling with the back of your foot and balancing the ball on your back. Practice these same steps on your weaker foot too.
Here is a short video which will give you a basic idea of how to juggle a soccer ball. Follow the video along with the above steps and you will learn how to juggle a soccer ball expertly. Why just watch players like Gareth Bale or Neymar juggling a soccer ball when you can do it too?